18 Easy Food Swaps to Save Money

If there was one sound that rose above all others at the grocery checkout line last year, it was this: Ouch! When your grocery budget is under assault, it’s easy to succumb to panic (“Nine dollars a pound for organic chicken?!”) and become tempted to fill your cart with less healthy, but ostensibly cheaper, fare. Trouble is, downgrading the quality of your food is never a bargain. First, your health is just too valuable, and courting an avoidable health condition or lowered immunity by eating poorly is just way too expensive. Second, even in the toughest economic times, you don’t have to scrimp on the good stuff. You just have to know how to shop smarter.

Make these 18 easy food swaps, and go from spendy to savvy.

  • Boxed cold cereal …Bulk or bagged whole-grain flakes or makings for homemade granola
  • Boxed, pouched or canned ready-meals …Bulk or dry-bagged quick-cooking staples (beans, lentils, rice, etc.)
  • Bottled water, juice and soda …Filtered tap water flavored with a splash, squeeze or slice of citrus
  • Extra-virgin olive oil in pretty glass bottles …Extra-virgin olive oil in big tin jugs and decanted at home
  • Honey in fancy glass jars …Bulk honey or local honey from the farmers’ market
  • Bagged salad mixes …Whole bunches of greens or bulk field greens

  • Bottled salad dressing … Olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and fresh pepper, shaken together
  • Boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts … A whole organic chicken
  • 6-ounce yogurt cups … 32-ounce carton of yogurt
  • Pound of steak or burger … Half-pound of same used for flavoring vs. centerpiece
  • Pound of tenderloin or chops … Big cut of meat for multiple-meal purposes
  • Pound of any meat (serves 2 to 4) … 10 pounds of bulk beans and rice, plus flavorings (serves 20)

  • Bag of frozen oven fries … Bag of baby potatoes
  • Package of mozzarella string cheese … Block of mozzarella
  • Fresh thyme sprigs … Thyme leaves plucked from your windowsill plant
  • Organic Gala apples in March … Organic Gala apples in October
  • Organic raspberries from the produce section … Organic raspberries from the frozen section
  • Bottled organic tea … Loose-leaf organic bulk green tea, mint leaves or other herbal mix

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Christine Jones
Christine J.10 months ago

It's hard, but it helps if you try and remember that money spent now on good food will be money saved later at the doctor and dentist.

Carole R.
Carole R.11 months ago

Thank you.

Carole R.
Carole R.11 months ago

Thanks for posting.

Lola S.
Lola S.about a year ago

It definitely costs more to eat healthier but it is better for you in the long run

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgenabout a year ago

Thank you

laura Frey
laura Frey1 years ago


Joy s.
Joy s.1 years ago

Start planning now for your garden this spring.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen1 years ago

Thank you

Fi T.
Fi T.1 years ago

Saving money is not the most important but our day

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran1 years ago